A few days ago, my husband and I took the kids to a small water park with his parents and two of our nieces who are visiting from out of state. When I say small water park, I'm talking three slides, a small lazy river, a main pool complete with a diving board, and a couple of nice toddler areas. The park is called "The Splash Zone" and since we're huge fans of any sized body of water, and our home pool is currently fighting an algae problem, my husband took 1/2 day off work and we were ready for a day of fun in the water.
We found lounge chairs to park our towels and headed off in different directions. The older kids ran off to get in line for the slides while my in-laws joined my husband and me with C in her toddler area. I glanced over to check on the older bunch and saw my A with her arms over her head and turning in circles as a lifeguard inspected her. (What in the world?) Then I noticed Z and K heading our way and they were soon joined by A. Their suits had been denied. (You've got to be kidding me.) Z's trunks had a pocket. (Gasp!) And A and K's suits were held together in the back by a tiny plastic clip. They either couldn't ride or had to go to the concession stand and get them cut out of their suits with a pair of scissors. Despite my mother-in-law's ingenious efforts at disguising these 'flaws', my kids suits were denied three more times before we reluctantly headed to the hot dog / scissor stand. By the time the suits were 'acceptable under Splash Zone law', Z's suit looked like he'd been attacked by a small cougar and the girls suits were awkwardly tied behind their necks regardless of the fact that they weren't made to do that. But they passed inspection each and every time the entire day long.....and let me assure you, they were inspected each and every time, the entire day long.
At the top of each hour the kids had to take a break and only adults could swim. At 1pm, while the kids took their break, my husband and I headed to the lazy river with his parents and opted to walk laps rather than ride in a tube. We were the only ones in there and it was great. At 2pm an announcement came over the loud speaker that the use of tubes in the lazy river was mandatory during break. (Wonder who they were talking to?) They also announced at each break that parents needed to check their kids diapers and that was followed with the rule that you have to use the bathrooms because you're not allowed to change their diapers in the public area and they topped it off with the threat to shut the park down for the rest of the day if there were any accidents. (I'm totally serious here.) My husband said, "This park has to be owned by __________ or ___________." (I won't repeat what he said but I have to say I totally agree with his prediction.)
My husband swims in trunks, a tank top, and his baseball cap. He always has, he always will. A couple hours into the day, he was approached by a manager and she asked him what his tank top was made of. After several seconds of awkward silence while he stood there staring at her, she clarified by asking if it was cotton. He answered yes. She then informed him that he would have to remove it before getting in the water. After a short argument that ended with him dramatically rolling his eyes at her and an under the breath mumble that included the word idiot, we added yet another ridiculous rule to their list of ridiculous rules. Cotton tank tops are not allowed.....as opposed to polyester, I guess.
Z and his cousin, a fellow gymnast, got lots of angry tweets from the lifeguard's whistle with their stunts off the diving board but that happens everywhere so we're pretty used to it. That's why he always saves his impressive handstand move till the end of the day when it's pretty useless to kick him out. And seeing as a pocket on his trunks caused such an uproar, a handstand might be grounds for corporal punishment or something.
I saved the best for last. The park has a round pool area. When you enter, a jet stream of water causes a current that pushes everyone around the circle. (Looking at it from above, it looks like a big pot of children at full boil.) It's fun but obviously has some potential for danger and/or injury therefore, a lifeguard is posted right by the pot. Suddenly we heard the Lifeguard stationed there yell at a child, "Hey! Keep your head above the water!" (Now there's a new Lifeguard approach. If you see someone drowning, yell at them. It's called tough love, people.)
So on a scale of 1-10, I rate "The Splash Zone" in Springfield a 4. Why so high, you might ask? Because if you enjoy pissing people off, this is the place for you. All you have to do is wear pockets or cotton, have the nerve to walk around the lazy river, check your child's diaper in public, or heaven forbid not check it at the top of each hour. And you certainly better not drown. But whatever you do, they better not catch you having fun......you might get kicked out for that. But on the upside, it wasn't crowded at all. Gee, I can't imagine why.......